Student entrepreneurs from any four-year institution of higher education in the state have until Sept. 27 to submit their ideas for the 2011-2012 West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition. The competition spans the academic year and will award two $10,000 prizes, plus two professional services packages worth more than $6,000 each.

The Business Plan Competition, now in its sixth year, is hosted statewide by the West Virginia University Entrepreneurship Center in WVU’s College of Business and Economics. Prizes are awarded to the top entrepreneur in each of two categories: “Lifestyle & Innovation” and “Hospitality & Tourism.” Winning teams are required to start their businesses in West Virginia.

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said the competition is a source of advanced ideas, and those ideas are transformed into real businesses.

“The West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition provides students a unique opportunity to transform business ideas into reality,” said Tomblin, an alumnus of WVU’s business school. “It is exciting to see the creativity and enthusiasm displayed by all the students involved in the competition. It is their innovative ideas that will create strong West Virginia businesses, which are at the core of our thriving economy and are essential to moving West Virginia forward.”

Students who enter the competition must submit a three- to five-page summary of their business idea no later than noon on Sept. 27. The Business Plan Competition is open to any fulltime college student attending a four-year, degree-granting West Virginia institution. Up to 10 semi-finalist teams in each category will be selected and announced in mid-October.

“Last year’s Business Plan Competition saw a record 115 entries from 10 different West Virginia colleges and universities,” said Mindy Walls, director of the WVU Entrepreneurship Center. “The concept of entrepreneurship is at an all-time high at the state, national and international levels. This year we’re hoping for even more entries from even more schools.”

In the previous five years of the statewide competition, 429 collegiate teams have entered from 14 different higher education institutions in West Virginia. A total of 10 winning teams have won $100,000 in cash; 49 finalist teams have received $49,000 in cash; and more than 100 volunteers from the statewide and regional business communities have assisted student teams. Of those 49 finalist teams, 20 have gone on to start West Virginia-based businesses.

“The track record of this competition shows us that it is directly responsible for the creation of many new businesses in West Virginia,” said Walls, “and it has awarded valuable cash prizes and professional services packages to help get these businesses started.”

Walls said students of any major and class rank may compete, and all that is required to enter is a business idea. There are three elimination rounds and, as students progress through the competition, they receive education and support to turn their idea into a viable business plan. To be eligible for advancement in the competition, all submitted business proposals must be located in West Virginia.

Go to for further information on the West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition.



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CONTACT: Patrick Gregg